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seeking wedding venue advice

I'm from Vancouver originally but fiancé and I both live in NYC. We had a few short days in YVR and checked out some wedding venues on the recommendation of friends.

Can be either afternoon or eve wedding in Aug 2012 for maybe 70-80 people. Ceremony + reception. Front-runners are Hycroft Manor, Tea House and Hart House.

Obviously budget is a concern but we want to make sure if we're spending that the food is good, beautiful view for out-of-towners and if possible easy to plan. My family and friends are big foodies so don't want to fall short on this part. Looking at the menus of some of above, they seemed basic. We loved setting of Tea House but menu looked meh but I didn't get a chance to taste to really know.

Questions:
- Does anyone have experience w/weddings at above shortlist?
- Does catering provide better food? Is there a caterer you'd recommend?
- Other places I should consider? Does not have to be in Vancouver if food/venue options outside of city are great. Brock house too big, Van Dusen/Museum Antropology, pushing our budget too far.

Any advice and input would be so helpful! Thanks.

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  1. Hart House has a new chef, Alana Peckham (ex-Cru) as of 6-8 weeks ago. Her menu may seem basic (/classic) but she's good at it and her food is pretty delicious. She might also work with you for a special menu, too - when at Cru the Valentine's Day and NYE special set meals were very elegant (haven't had her wedding menu but imagine it would be similar to those).

    Best of luck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: reiney

      Aug 2012?

      Or 2013?

      Because two weeks as of today is cutting it rather fine.

      1. re: Sam Salmon

        Doh! Typo, I meant 2013. And I'd been to Cru several times while visiting and always loved it!

    2. I've been to Hycroft ... beautiful setting. Food dished out in basement so you have to walk up/down stairs. Perhaps a problem if you have people that are less mobile. That was awhile ago so things may have changed (or not). If the weather is nice then people hang out outside which really made the wedding IMO.

      Keep in mind that Hycroft is haunted real good. (lol) Just FYI if that matters.

      No experience with Hart or Tea house for a wedding, sorry.

      1. We had the same requirements as you for our wedding: Vancouver/view, right size (ours was a bit smaller at 60) and great food. Epic fail on the final item at all the view places that provided food so we opted to hire a caterer and get married by the Vancouver Museum. The room we used is no longer available, alas, but you could drop them a line and see what they have on offer. Hard to beat the location as the landscaping is perfect for photos and you're less than a block from the beach with the iconic mountain backdrop.

        Another place to check out if you want to hire caterers is Aberthau Mansion. It's run by the Board of Parks. https://www.google.ca/search?q=aberth...

        Christophe Kwiatkowski did our catering through the now-defunct Dubrulle Culinary School and the food was phenomenal. He worked with us to tailor the menu to our (my picky) needs and even arranged to cook the meat a la minute using on-site bbqs. He is now at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver http://www.nwcav.com/ (that's him on the right) but I have no idea if they still do this kind of catering.

        Hiring a caterer does add a layer of logistics that you may find is too complex for your needs. If so maybe taking a flyer on Alana Peckham might be worth the convenience, though I don't find Hart House a particularly convenient location.

        Best of luck and congrats!

        4 Replies
        1. re: grayelf

          Chef Christophe still caters under the brand Le Zeste
          http://www.lezeste.com

          1. re: reiney

            Ooh, brilliant, reiney, thanks for the link! Dunno why I didn't get it on my search (duh) but I'm thrilled to know for sure he is still doing catering. That is the beauty of a chef-run catering school I guess.

            Good tip, Anne, to check whether the caterer has a list of places they cater at (also worth calling as I think most places will make arrangements if the caterer is competent!). Interesting how few of the locations linked to by Culinary Capers have views -- this drove me crazy when we were looking for our venue. I guess it's similar to the "view restos don't have good food" or the "Vancouver doesn't have good well priced seafood" curse :-).

            As for Culinary Capers, we used them a fair bit through work and their food is competent plus they show up which is key. A bit pricey for what they do, but then catering is not cheap.

          2. re: grayelf

            These are excellent suggestions. Thanks so much! Thanks for sharing your research!

            1. re: grayelf

              +1 on Chef Christophe :-) Glad to see his Zeste still going strong. He taught several of the classes I took at NWCAV ...... very nice fella, along with Chef Tony.

              LOL, they still use many of the photos I snapped in the Serious Foodies classes :-D

              http://www.nwcav.com/gallery.php#/con...

            2. Congratulations and good luck!

              I hope I'm not confusing things but if you are considering a caterer they all have good lists of venues available on their websites. I haven't used them but, for for example only, here's a venue list on the Culinary Capers website: http://www.culinarycapers.com/venues/...

              1. Unrelated to any of your shortlist venues, but another option is the Cecil Green Park House at UBC, very close to the Museum of Anthropology. We got married at CG House back in 1994 (OMG, it's been that long ?!?!?) on the Labor Day long weekend, with perfect weather etc. And our wedding party was also between 70-80 people.

                http://www.cecilgreenpark.ubc.ca/

                http://www.cecilgreenpark.ubc.ca/even...

                DO book in advance, this place is popular. We inquired in January 1994 and the first availability was for the day we got married (yes, venue booking dictated our wedding day).

                Service was top notch. Catering in those days was done by UBC Catering exclusively, but with option of bringing our own wine/liquor which we did. I believe their catering is now thru Wescadia, a spin-off of UBC Catering:

                http://www.cecilgreenpark.ubc.ca/faci...

                http://www.catering.ubc.ca/our-menus

                Can't recall the package we got back then, which was obviously quite different than the current ones. But it was predominantly hors d'oeuvre to maximize guests mingling and moving about, and I believe was in the $25/pp (food-only) range.

                Wedding cake was a 3-tiered St. Honore (hey, I like cream puffs, ok ?) from the now defunct Carmelo's on Commercial Drive.

                Ooops, I've slipped and fell unto a long memory lane ....... ;-)

                4 Replies
                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Nice! We drove by on our way to M. Anthropology and I noticed it but have never been. Thanks for tips and details.

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    I was at a wedding at Cecil Green in May and it was spectacular. Beautiful setting. Food was nothing over the top, but everything was very tasty and well executed for a party of 80 or so. As far as I know you cannot bring in your own caterers there.

                    That being said, if you wanted spectacular food, perhaps two of my favorite caterers? Kale and Nori Culinary Arts or Butter on the Endive Catering. Both have terrific chefs and the bonus on Kale and Nori is the potential for cocktail pairings from one of the best bartenders in these parts.

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      I got married at Cecil Green Park House last year, and while our wedding was wonderful...I don't have the most positive things to say about the catering.

                      My number one complaint is that they were not accommodating. We were planning our wedding from another province, so because we were not in the city to taste the food during a scheduled day, we did not get to try the food until the day of the wedding. I found them to be quite ignorant of food allergies. We were also not allowed to bring in our own alcohol.

                      The venue was beautiful. However, there are many MANY restrictions in order to preserve this heritage house.

                      1. re: focioncroci

                        Thanks for that feedback. I've looked into all of the options suggested by posters here and a friend of mine weighed in heavily for Cecil Green too. It's a front runner (of the week and i'm sure it'll change) but I'm going to be in the same boat as you were as we're organizing from NYC which makes the entire process more complicated.

                        When I called Wescadia caterers I spoke to someone utterly blasé and rude. I'm almost ready to just spin this important event into a really nice BBQ in the park somewhere :-).